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RIM: Customer Service Heroes

Customer service is tough to get right. Most of us don’t do nearly as good a job as we might, either. Be honest, you know it’s true.

RIM is a company we should all stand in awe of.  If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you will recall that last January my berry died on the road, and RIM support air-shipped me a new one.  That was awesome, but this is even better.

We’ve been working on some advanced applications for the Blackberry, built around the iotum Relevance Engine.  Today we had two important meetings where we wanted to be able to show these applications.  Last night, the development PC needed to be rebuilt, and on reinstallation Saad (our developer doing the Blackberry work) discovered that the registration keys we had been using had expired — no more installs left!


At 7:46, this email went to two RIM contacts I have:


From: Alec Saunders
Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 7:46 PM
To: Ray;Dave
Cc: Saad Shakhshir
Subject: HELP! Signing Keys Shot
Importance: High

Hi Guys,

I have an emergency that I could use a hand with. We’ve got a demo tomorrow, with an important party, of our new Blackberry software.  This evening, we wiped the development environment machine, and rebuilt it, and now no longer have functioning signature keys for signing our applications to load them onto the handhelds.  Saad has called tech support, and submitted an email request to Mark Sohm asking for his help, however, we’ve been told that it could take 24 hours.  Our demo is at 9:30 AM in the morning.  Anything you folks can do to help me?

I will ship cases of whatever comestibles tickle your fancy!




At 8:45 the first of the replies arrived.  By 9:45, we had a solution.  New keys would be issued between 7:00 and 7:30 AM in the morning (it takes a person physically on site at RIM to do this).  At 7:15 AM this morning, the keys arrived in email.

Our demo went off without a hitch, thanks to Dave and Sassan at RIM.  MANY MANY thanks.  You guys are customer service heroes in my book.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Ken Camp November 1, 2006, 6:53 pm

    Alec – This is a story I really appreciate, because myRIM experiences out here in the PNW are so far to the other end of the spectrum that I won't write about them online. They're that bad. Bad enough that I'm a Goodlink fan because of RIM. And I really do like much of what their architecture and approach can do. My negatives have all been people and responsiveness related. My headaches are in the distant past now, and irrelevant, but it's nice to hear good things about the RIM team.

  • Alec November 1, 2006, 6:57 pm

    It really does boil down to the person and their commitment to service, doesn't it Ken?

  • Arshad Merali November 2, 2006, 4:28 am

    Alec, it must be your charm and 'connections' that got YOU the level of service you received and of course deserve. However, to Ken's point, not everybody has expierenced the same level of customer service from RIM… the real heroes here are Dave and Sassan. Now, if only they can evangelize that sense of customer service throughout the organization; just think how much more successful RIM can be. Us shareholders would be very pleased also :-)

  • Alec November 2, 2006, 4:55 am

    What I think is cool, Arshad, is that we're not a big company. We're 12 people, who've paid $100 for license keys to use RIM developer products. Yet these folks at RIM understand that developers are the key to making their platform successful. And so they helped. It would have been really easy to say "24 hours is the best we can do", but instead I had an offer from Sassan, whom I have never met before, to drive 45 minutes in to his office (after 10 at night), and regenerate the keys. Since it could wait until the next morning, I declined.

    It was great, and I am very appreciative.

  • Ken Camp November 2, 2006, 1:35 pm

    Alec, you are so right. In my experience, it's often not the copmany or the culture of a company> Customer service is really won and lost by individuals who will do what needs to be done and take care of their customers. For some that's a vested interest in their company's success and for some, it's just part of their nature. Too many companies don't understand how deep that commitment is. I'd guess that your appreciation for Sassan's work would easily follow him away from RIM to another company. His relationship has earned your trust and respect. RIM's lucky to have him. They need to know that and find a way to make more of their people behave that way was my real point.

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